Skip to main content

Home Culture Culture Film & TV

Queer As Folk’s Jesse James Keitel on ’empowering’ sex scene: ‘I’ve never been prouder of anything’

Exclusive: “I had to experience a very personal, radical act of self-love very publicly," says Jesse of "emotional, impactful, empowering" scene

By Jamie Tabberer

Words: Jamie Tabberer; pictures:

Jesse James Keitel has spoken out about her envelope-pushing sex scene in the upcoming Queer As Folk revival.

In the reimagining of Russell T Davies classic 90s TV hit, Jesse plays Ruthie, a teacher who is trans and who is in a relationship with Shar, a non-binary profrssor played by CG.

“I’ve never been prouder of anything in my life,” says Jesse of a pivotal love scene between the pair.

“I love my body. You’re only 28 once!”

Adds the Big Sky star: “I hope that scene has an impact on people who may look at people with similar bodies to me with disdain, lust, hatred, admiration, confusion, whatever… I hope people can say: ‘That was an emotional, impactful, empowering sex scene with someone who happens to be trans.’ Or: ‘I see myself in that.’” 

She also said that: “When the question was first posed to me of whether I’d entertain the idea of doing that scene, I always said: ‘For the right role, project and scene, I’d do it.’ I thought: ‘The only thing stopping me is my own discomfort with something.’

“But I was like: ‘I love my body. You’re only 28 once!’ It took a long time for me to love my body, the one I walk around in every day, as a trans woman, and not feel shame about it. So often in the media, we’re made to feel shame around trans bodies. When in reality I love my body and being trans.”

CG adds of the show’s intimacy coordinator Hannah Hall: “We had a rehearsal before the rehearsal, sat down and went through, not beat by beat, but vibe by vibe what these two people were going through in this moment that wasn’t just sex. What’s underneath and on top of that? It was very comfortable, and my first intimate scene. [I was] very well taken care of. Not babied or cradled, but [there was] a lot of information fed in.” 

Queer as Folk is streaming on Starzplay in the UK now.

The Attitude July/August issue featuring the cast of Queer As Folk is out now.